Progress is urgently needed in understanding Alzheimer's disease and in finding effective treatments. Available drugs can help stabilise memory loss and confusion for a few months in about half of patients, but no preventative treatments exist and none that slow the inexorable development of the disease.
We've all got resolutions for 2014, some of them we might even keep beyond January. But if you are looking for something new this coming year, how about attending salons? Building on an illustrious heritage, the modern salons are cultural showcases that cover a range of subjects from the worlds of science, the arts and psychology.
My latest book is about everything... from finance to thermodynamics, sex to special relativity, human evolution to holography. In researching and writing it, I began to appreciate more and more what a wonderful world we live in -one far more incredible than anything we could possibly have invented. Here are just some of the bonkers things I learnt.
A diverse ecosystem means a productive ecosystem, as each small part that makes up the larger whole plays a vital and important part in keeping the machine functioning. With millions of species in the world, biodiversity is one of our biggest economic resources for medicine, food and natural materials.
Perhaps the poor panda's problem is that it is neither directly useful to humans like cows, sheep, potatoes and apples (whose populations have thrived alongside those of humans), nor has it ever been simply domesticated. Does another species need to be directly useful to humans in order for us to justify its survival?
Giant pandas are charismatic, fascinating creatures. From a biological perspective, I find them so very interesting. I really like them. And yet, I think it may be the time to let them drift off into extinction or, at the very least, reconsider our approach to their conservation. I do not say this lightly.